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Twelfth Night -The Treatment of Love

The play also examines more overt same-sex desire in the Sebastian /Antonio sub-plot. The famous opening line of the play says ” If music be the food of love play on Give me excess of it, that surfeiting And the appetite may sicken and so die” These lines s shows us how erotic desires are linked to violence and self indulgence in the play. The play scrutinizes prototypes of love and courtship through the falsification of gender roles. The traditional courtship pattern is violated when Olivia, praises Viola or disguised Cesario. She praises Cesario’s beauty and tells him that even his ‘scorn’ is a symbol of his hidden love. The possibility of Olivia, being in love with a woman is presented before the audience. Olivia praises Cesario with feminine quality descriptions but consciously not even thinking of the gender. She declares that not even “wit nor reason can hide her passion. Since at that time, wooing a woman by a woman was not in practice the audience considered this as a comic. But for Shakespeare, he was able to make the audience think about the question of homosexuality, which was totally against the then concept of romance. He upsets the norms of the society having Olivia act as suitor and having the man act as the object of desire.

The treatment of love and infatuation is this ambiguous in this play. In general love is represented as something that is irresistible, unstructured and overpowering. It is portrayed as something that can change or destroy a person. …

Viola being a man in Illyra, hopes to win Duke’s heart and lets out her emotions ‘Whoever I woo, myself would be his wife ‘.What Viola says to Orsino is also notable “My state is desperate for my masters love “. To what extent, the people who are in love should suffer, is explicated through several incidents. Sir Andrew challenges viola to fight to death for Olivia’s hand and Orsino threatens to kill Viola in order to keep her for himself.” But this your minion , whom I know you love , and whom by heaven I swear , I tender dearly , Him will I tear out of that , Where he sits crowned in his masters’ spite “ . The kind of love that Olivia expresses for Viola is not serious. The superficial infatuation towards a womanish man changes to ‘love ‘, if it can be called, when she sees Sebastian whom she has known for mere minutes. Falling in love with personalities instead of persons is against the concept of true love. The subplots are also concerned with love affairs. Why Maria plays against Malvolio, a steward to Lady Olivia, is because of is love towards Olivia. She writes to him a letter as Olivia writes to him “If this falls into thy hands, revolve in my stars, I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have great thrust upon them” Malvolio spend his whole life as a joker because of his self love and false beliefs about Olivia. The complication arises in Act V, when Sebastian and Viola come together. Viola seems to forget her own identity, but when she expresses her love to the Duke, he accepts her. At the end he observes “here in my hands, you shall form, by this time be your master.” Thus rejuvenation takes place as in the case of some other romantic plays.

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